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For why should I rejoice for being numbered among the living? Without this inestimable good, life is not of such value, that I should sweat and fatigue myself therein. 'O! how contemptible is man, unless he is advanced above what is buman." Thus the book of nature, thus the contemplation of the heavens, taught Seneca both to think and speak." In Præfat. Quest. Natur.

· IX. But seeing the same nature teacheth us that God is far more excellent than those very heavens, which are his throne and the work of his hands, that he is both the Creator and ruler of the heavens, the same works invité man to seek after the communion of God himself above all things for happiness cannot consist in barely dwelling in heaven unless one enjoys the fellowship and communion of God there. Thus by the voice of nature men are invited to seek God if haply they might feel after him, Acts xvii. 27. “ He left not himself without witness in that he did good," Acts xiv. 17. and that by disco vering himself to be the fountain of all good, both the greatest and the best of beings, whose communion alone can render any perfectly blessed. “It is therefore an old saying, and handed down from our ancestors to mankind, that all things were both framed by God, and in him consist ; and that no nature can be sufficient for its own safety, which is only entrusted with its own preservation, without God." Thus the author of the book De mundo, extant among Aristotle's works, c. xi. and who concludes with these excellent words, “Whoever would attain to a blessed and happy life, must partake of the Deity from the very beginning.

X. But God not only invites men by the light of nature to seek him, but also gives some hope of enjoying him. For why else should be forbear sinners with so much long-suffering, unless he had decreed to take pity on some of them? Would it be worthy of the most pure Deity to have preserved now for 50 many ages the world, subjected to vanity by the sins of men, unless there were some of mankind to whom he was willing to shew himself glorious in their happiness ? " The Lord is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance,” 2 Pet. ij. 9. And as this consideration of the divine patience and forbearance, shining forth in the whole government of the world, yields some bope of salvation, and the long suffering of our Lord ought to be accounted salvation, ib. ver. 15. So this goodness of God should lead every one to repentance, Rom. ii. 4. :-)

XI. For nature also teaches, that it is not possible any one can enjoy converse and familiarity with God, who does not sincerely endeavour after purity and holiness, and, as the emperor

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Mark Antony speaks, lib. 2. $ 5. labours not to live a life resembling God. For, like delights in like, and rejoices to communicate itself thereto. Plato de Legibus, lib. iv. says well, "what practice is it that is agreeable to, and in imitation of God? “ This and that ancient one; that like delights in like.". Thus man is invited to the practice of the strictest purity, by the voice of nature herself, in order to the enjoyment of God. I cannot forbear adding the gradation of Agapetus, which is really fine, and strictly true. Thus he says to the emperor Justinian; “ for, he who knows himself shall know God. But he who knows God, shall be made like to God. He shall be like God, who is worthy of God. He shall be worthy of God, who does nothing unworthy of God, but meditates on the things of God, and what he thinks he speaks, and what he speaks he acts.”

XII. All these things the royal prophet, Psal. xix. 1-4. has exhibited in a concise but very strong manner.

“ The heavens declare the glory of God;" for as they are his throne curiously framed, so they display, his power, majesty, greatness and holiness, before which the heavens themselves confess they are not clean: however, their very excellence invite men, within their circuit to endeavour, to the utmost, after the enjoyment of communion with the great and good God. : “ And the firmament slieweth his handy-work," proclaiming that by his word only, it was framed together. “Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge." These vicissitudes of light and darkness mutually corresponding in so exact and constant an order, prove a most wise director. And there is no day nor night but speaks something of God, and declares it to the next as the scholar of the preceding and the master of the following. “ There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard." "If they were words, the instruction would cease with their sound; but now what the heavens declare, they do it always, and in the same manner. If speeches, and sentences de duced with much subtlety from their reasons and causes, they would labour under obscurity ; if their voice was heard it would stun us with its noise. But now the heavens instruct both constantly, clearly and sweetly. For, though their voice is not heard, yet they have a voice, no less strongly adapted to strike the mind, than the sound of a trumpet, or of thunder'; seeing they exhibit to the eyes of all the magnificence of their Creator, so clearly as to escape the observation of none but the wilfully blind. Or possibly this may be the meaning ; “ There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard." Though people differ in languages, and the Greek understands not the barbarian: yet the heavens have a common language adapted to


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the instruction of all alike: and nothing but a culpable carelessness can hinder the most distant people from improving by the instruction, as it were, of one teacher“Their line is gone out through all the earth.” The instruction of the heavens resettibles that of schoolmasters, who teach children their letters, pamely, by drawing their strokes before them. Thus the hea vens draw lines, or strokes, with their rays, and as it were, letters of the alphabet, from which combined and variously joined together, an entire volume of wisdom is formed. This is the signification of yp, as Isa. xxviii. 10. line upon line : from which the Greek ploggos, which the apostle uses, Rom. X. 18. does not differ much, denoting not only a sound, but also a letter of the alphabet, as Plutarch in fabio notes, as Scapula has obseryed in his lexicon. Nor is it necessary, we say, that the text is here corrupted, or that the Septuagint read op their voice. And this line“ is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world." All mankind whether in a habitable or desert country are taught by this master. There is no corner of the world, where the figures of the heavens, as 80 many arguments of the divine perfections, are not to be seen. And this is the reason why I have just now proposed the reasonings of those (if you except the quotation from Agapetus, a deacon of the church of Constantinople,) who had no other master but nature.

XIII. But though the invitation which nature gives to seek God be sufficient to render them without excuse, who do not comply with it, Rom. i. 20. yet it is not sufficient, even objectively, for salvation. For it does not afford that lively hope which maketh not ashamed; for this is only revealed by the gospel; whence the Gentiles are said to have been without hope in the world,” Eph. ii. 12. It does not shew the true way to the enjoyment of God, which is no other than faith in Christ. It does not sufficiently instruct us about the manner in which we ought to worship and please God, and do what is acceptable to him. In short, this call by nature never did, nor is it even possible that it ever can, bring any, to the saving knowledge of God: “ the gospel alone is the power of God unto salvation, to every one that believeth," Rom. i. 16.

XIV. We cannot agree with those, whether they be ancients, a list of whom Casaubon, Exercit

. I. ad Apparat. Annal. Baronii, and after him Vossius, Histor. Pelag. lib. iï. p. 3. Thes. 11. have drawn up; or whether they be moderns, who maintain that good men, among the Gentiles, were brought to salvation by this call of nature, without the knowledge of Christ.

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Apd we think, some of our brethren ascribe too much to nature, who tell us, That men, if not wilfally blind, could, by what is known of God, have attained to some knowledge of

the divine, mercy, by which they might obtain salvation in a
manner. perhaps unknown to us, though destitute of the dis-
tinct knowledge of some mysteries which they could no, way
discover of themselves," Amirullus, Specim. Animad. in Exerc.
de Gratia. Unid. Pü. p. 133. For we are persuaded, there
is no salvation without Christ, Acts iv. 12. i no communion of
adult persons with Christ, but by faith in him, Eph. ii. 17.
no faith in Christ, without the knowledge of him, Johd xvii. 3.
no knowledge, but by the preaching of the Gospel, Rom. x.
14. no preaching of the Gospel in the works of nature. For,
it is that mystery which was kept secret since the world be
gan,” Rom. xvi. 25.

XV. To what purpose then, you will say, is this call by

the light of nature ? Not to speak of the being without
CUSE just now. mentioned, which indeed may be the end of
him who calls, though not of the call itself, that calling serves
to pave the way for a further, a more perfect, and a more ex-
plicate call by the Gospel, and as a prelude of a fuller instruc-
tion, Fors as grace supposes nature, and makes it perfect;
so the truths revealed in the Gospel are built on those made
known by the light of nature. When a person under that
glimmering light has discovered, that there is a God, that
happiness consists in his communion with him, and in com
parison of him all things are nothing, and that he is the re-
warder of those who seek him; and that, if he is sought in a

! proper way and manner, he is not sought in vain; he has now a foundation laid, on which to build the gospel, which declares what that God is, in what manner, he becomes propitious to men in Christ, how he is to be sought, and in what method he will certainly be found. And thus that knowledge, he learns from nature, being sanctified by the Spirit, better prepares the mind for embracing those truths which though they surpass, are yet so far from destroying, that they perfect nature, And it is very expedient for believers, who live under the Gospel, to have always the book of nature before their eyes: which furnishes them with useful instructions, and lashes the conscience with continual reproaches, unless they love, worship, and celebrate the Deity, who is every where present. Which the heathens themselves, as Epictetus and others, have represented in their own way.

XVI. We must therefore add the other call by the word of God, supernaturally revealed, either immediately from God's


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own mouth, as was formerly done to the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and others; or mediately by the ministers, of God, whether they proached it by word of mouth, or consigned it to writing. Thus Paul says, ,Rom. x. 14. “ how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher ?". And here indeed both parts of the word are to be made use of; thus the law convincing pan of sin, Rom. ii

. 20. awakens hinı to, a sense of big misery, drives the sinner out of himself, stirs him up to desire de

ap liverance, and makes him sigh, and cry in this manner, 0 ,

0 wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of death !" Rom. vii. 24. Therefore the law ought certainly to be preached in its full vigour and force, that knowing the terror of the Lord we may persuade men," 2 Cor. y. 11. But yet the principal part is performed by the Gospel, which re vealing Christ, and the fulness of all, grace and salyation in him, allures, by its endearing sweetness, awakened and con cerned sinners to compmunion with God. Nothing more powerfully, sinks into the inmost soul, than that most alluring'ing vitation of Jesus, ". Come unto me all ye that labour and heasy laden, and I will give you rest, Matt. xi. 28, Let him that is athirst come, and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely," Rev. xxii. 16. This is the power of

“ God unto salvation, to every one that believeth," Rom. i. 16. If the law only was preached, it would, by its horrors, har den souls, driven to despair, into a hatred of God, as a severe avenger of sin. But by adding the gospel, which makes a bright hope of grace to shipe, even on the mo? abandoned and wretched sinner, if displeased with himself, he heartily, de sires it: obstinate hearts come to relent, and to be melted down into a love of God, and of his Christ. And therefore pothing ought to be more sweet and dear to us than the most delightful word of the Gospel, in which are brooks of honey and butter, Job xx. 17.

XVII. This word of grace was published in the world from the very first sin of man, though variously dispensed, Heb. i. 1. But in such a manner, as to be sufficient for the instrucLion" of the Elect to salvation, in all ages, according to that measure of grace and knowledge, which the providence of God distributed in each period of time. When the revelation was more sparing and obscure, God being satisfied with 'a less measure of knowledge, did, by the secret power of his

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The author's quotation of Isa. lii. 7. seems to be a mistake of the press, and therefore I bave given this, to which he appears bo hare referred

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